News From the Kansas Legislature – Week 5

Rep. Bill Sutton


On Thursday, members of the Kansas House, Kansas Senate, and legislative staff wore red for heart health awareness. Representative Concannon carried HR 6048, which names February as American Heart Month.

The resolution provides many facts surrounding women and heart health, including: cardiovascular diseases kill one in three women in the United States, yet 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases may be prevented; an estimated 44 million women in the United States are affected by cardiovascular diseases; 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing a heart disease or a stroke.

The Go Red for Women movement encourages women to know and manage these five numbers: 1) total cholesterol; 2) HDL (good) cholesterol; 3) blood pressure; 4) blood sugar; and 5) body mass index. Representative Concannon was joined by Leann Dickson, a Cardiac nurse at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and an American Heart Association volunteer. The resolution was adopted without roll call.


On Wednesday, Governor Colyer addressed a joint session of the House and Senate. He began by outlining his new administration: a new policy team, a new communications team, and six major changes to the cabinet: Commerce Secretary, DCF Secretary, Commerce Secretary, Chief Budget Officer, Chief of Information Technology, and Lieutenant Governor.

Additionally, the Governor created the position of Chief Operating Officer, in effort to foster more of a business approach, and then focused on three main points: reform, jobs, and education.

Reform—Governor Colyer revealed his intention to sign four executive orders, of which would create a safer and more transparent workplace. First, no charge for open records requests of less than 100 pages. Second, institute policies to ensure that official business is conducted on state emails only. Lastly, the implementation of performance metrics for cabinet agencies as well as a one-stop-shop website to post open meetings, locations and materials. The Governor also touched on the executive order he signed on Monday, which requires all executive branch employees, interns, and contractors to undergo mandatory annual training seminars.

Jobs—He made note that the state unemployment rate is 3.4%, the lowest in seventeen years, and that there are 48,000 unfilled jobs across the state. Instead of having people looking for jobs, jobs are looking for people. Governor Colyer unveiled his “(Re) Employment Plan”, which will provide skills assessment, resume, interview and networking assistance to the labor market, at no cost.

Education—The Governor invoked the names of the nine previous Kansas governors, and stated that under each administration, each of them had the specter of education lawsuits overshadowing the process. He also articulated that schools must stay open, a definitive school finance formula is necessary, the need to improve accountability and to strive for better outcomes for students.

For a transcript of the speech, click here.
For a video of the joint address, click here.


On Tuesday, the Federal and State Affairs Committee heard SB 262. The bill authorizes the Capitol Preservation Committee to approve plans to place a permanent statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower on the Capitol grounds. The statue will be placed in the NW quadrant of the Capitol grounds

SB262 was approved by the House with a vote of 123-0. The bill now awaits action by the Governor and will go into effect upon publication in the Kansas Register

My grandchildren, Ryleigh and Logan Stratton, paged for me recently, which was really special.


The Kansas Republican Party Convention will take place next weekend in Wichita, Kansas, at the Hyatt Regency. Notable events include a rally with Governor Matt Bevin (R-KY), Kansans for Life Breakfast, lunch with Todd Starnes, and the Inaugural Gubernatorial Debate late Saturday evening. The debate panel includes: Governor Jeff Colyer, Wink Hartman, Mark Hutton, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer.

If you have yet to register for the convention, please click here.
Please see below for an up-to-date schedule of events:


HB 2666 was introduced by Rep. Ousley (D- Merriam) and if passed would revert Kansas back to the failed policies of the Sebelius-era. HB 2666 would remove all sanctions for non-compliance with the welfare work programs and undo the HOPE Act’s lifetime limit reform.
Kansas’ historic welfare reform has successfully moved thousands of able-bodied adults off of welfare and into employment. The Foundation for Government Accountability analysis has shown that welfare recipients have left welfare and found jobs in more than 600 different industries and by doing so have more than doubled their incomes within just one year.

The employment-focused welfare reforms included in the HOPE Act help move families from poverty to prosperity through full-time work. It is through the dignity of work, that they are put on the path to self-sufficiency and ultimately the opportunity for life-changing independence and success.

The most effective pathway out of poverty is full-time employment. Moving individuals into employment gives them hope for a brighter future and allows them to gain independence and self-sufficiency for themselves and their family.


On Wednesday, the Republican caucus heard from former Representative Greg Lakin, who currently serves as State Health Officer at the Kansas Department for Health and Environment (KDHE). He provided a list of the recommendations from KDHE, who had input from DCCCA, and was based on the work of partners and agencies serving on the Kansas Prescription Drug and Opioid Advisory Committee. Those recommendations are:
· Permanently fund the Kansas prescription drug monitoring program (K-TRACS) and mandate K-TRACS registration with required education and/or training.

· Adopt a “Good Samaritan Law”
· Expand access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and provide education about effective MAT treatment guidelines for primary care providers, including best practices for special populations.
· Expand and promote use of the Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment as a best practice for universal screening of substance use.
· Complete application and negotiations to secure an assessment of the National Association of Medical Examiners.

Dr. Lakin made it clear that those individuals with chronic pain generally are taking opiates correctly. There is a need to minimize getting opiates to the addicted population. K-TRACS helps stop feeding the habit. Dr. Lakin described the physiological changes to a person who is addicted to opiates, including having their higher-level thinking being put on the back burner. Many of the addicted have anxiety and depression issues that need to be addressed.

Regarding prescribing laws, they do not want to drive doctors out of practice or prevent treatment for chronic pain. Representative Becker asked what brought about the crisis in the past couple of years. Dr. Lakin noted that about ½ start because of use for medical condition and the other ½ start for recreational use. There also has been a stronger opiate from China, Carfentanil, which is 100 times as potent as the same amount of fentanyl. Representative Koesten noted that the easy first step is to mandate that all providers are using K-TRACS, which would stop doctor shopping. Representative Eplee noted that in the early 1990’s, pain was identified as the 5th vital sign and physicians were trained to treat pain.

He indicated that the K-TRACS oversight committee is underfunded and that financing should come from a generic revenue stream, not stakeholders. Representative Landwehr spoke about the briefing that Social Services Budget Committee heard. She discussed a survey that is provided after hospital stays that included how pain was satisfied. If doctors do not fully satisfy a patient rating, it is reported against them. Representative Good discussed that it would be good to involve the Department of Corrections in the Advisory Committee, mentioning the reality of addiction in the facilities.


On Friday, the Legislative Coordinating Council (LCC) met. The LCC approved the following items:
· Appointed Curtis Tideman as Legislative Counsel for the House in the area of school finance.
· Granted meeting days request of the Robert G. (Bob) Bethell Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight Committee. Also granted one meeting day for each of the Working Groups of the Child Welfare System Task Force
· Approved a meeting day, February 23, for a Joint Committee meeting of the House K-12 Education Budget Committee and its Senate counterpart. The Committees will hear from Dr. Lori Taylor, who is performing the school finance cost study. The Council learned that Dr. Taylor has also made herself available to speak before the State Department of Education and other interested parties on Saturday, February 24.

Lastly, the LCC received an update on sexual harassment policies of the Legislature and Legislative agencies. Following, the Council adopted proposed language changes, along with an amendment from Senator Hensley, to LCC Policy #53. Tom Day, Director of Legislative Administrative Services, reported that legislators, legislative agency staff, and leadership staff have attended one of six training sessions that have been offered.



On Thursday, the Committee heard the first report from a Budget Committee. The Committee heard the General Government Budget Committee’s report on the Board of Barbering, Board of Cosmetology, and Judicial Branch Budgets. From Thursday until Thursday March 15, the Committee will be hearing reports from all of the Budget Committees. Next week, the following budgets will be heard in Appropriations:

February 12: General Government: Office of the Governor; Attorney General; Department of Administration; Office of Information Technology Services (OITS)

February 13: Transportation and Public Safety: Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training; Office of the State Fire Marshal; Kansas Bureau of Investigation; Board of Indigents’ Defense Services

February 14: Agriculture and Natural Resources: Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism; Department of Agriculture. Social Services: Kansas Commission on Veterans’ Affairs

February 15: Higher Education: Board of Regents; Emporia State University; University of Kansas Medical Center; Wichita State University

KLRD has produced agency budget summaries. This is a new document, which provides highlights of their Budget Analysis documents:


Visitors to Topeka from home recently included Paul Davis from Johnson County Med-Act; G.A. Buie, Executive Director of the United School Administrators of Kansas; Pam Stranathan, Superintendent of USD 231; Jeremy McFadden, Director of the Business Office of USD 231.



HB 2470—Concerning Alcoholic Beverages; dealing with microbreweries

This bill allows microbreweries in the State of Kansas to contract with other microbreweries for production and packaging of beer and hard cider.
Final Action, February 7, 121-1
Bill carried by: Representative Francis Awerkamp
I voted “aye.”


HB 2438—Prohibiting state agencies from using the same vendor to plan and build certain IT projects, exceptions

This bill was prefiled for introduction by the Legislative Post Audit Committee. In testimony before the House Federal and State Committee, the Post Auditor noted that the bill represents best project management practices.
Final Action, February 8, 123-0
Bill carried by: Representative Melissa Rooker
I voted “aye.”

HB 2446—Allowing for a ranking minority member on the Joint Committee on Kansas Security

This bill allows for the designation of a ranking minority member on both the Joint Committee on Kansas Security. The House Government, Technology, and Security Committee added this designation to ‘the Joint Committee on Information Technology. This does not change the membership on the joint committee, but rather formally acknowledges the recognized lead minority member on the committee.
Final Action, February 8, 123-0
Bill carried by: Representative Keith Esau
I voted “aye.”

HB 2474—Removing the requirement for district courts to mail marriage certificate information to the Secretary of KDHE

This bill was placed on the Consent Calendar by the Judiciary Committee.
Final Action, February 7, 122-0
I voted “aye.”

HB 2502—Regulation of the sales of beer by cereal malt beverage licensees

This is the trailer bill to 2017 SB 13, the 2017 Uncorked legislation.
Final Action, February 8, 117-6
Bill carried by: Representative Les Mason
I voted “aye.”


SB 262—Authorizing the construction of a statue honoring Dwight David Eisenhower
Final Action, February 8, 123-0
Bill carried by: Representative John Barker
I voted “aye.”

HB 2441—Audits of state agencies; financial-compliance audits; Kansas lottery security audit; selection of auditors, contracts with

The bill was amended during debate by Representative Barker, removing the requirement that CPAs performing the Lottery IT audit be from Kansas. Representative Highberger’s amendment removed the Kansas requirement from all audits in the bill, returning the bill to its introduced form.
Final Action, February 8, 122-1
Bill carried by: Representative John Barker
I voted “aye.”

HB 2492—Sales tax authority for Thomas County

The bill is effective upon publication in the Kansas Register. The bill was amended by Representative Waymaster to add the sales tax authority for Russell County.
Final Action, February 8, 109-14
Bill carried by: Representative Adam Smith
I voted “nay.”

HB 2469—Exempting certain claims handling operations from certain local ordinances and restrictions during an emergency or catastrophe

The bill creates a more streamlined approach to setting up temporary claims processing facilities during a time of catastrophic loss.
Final Action, February 8, 123-0
Bill carried by: Representative Tom Cox
I voted “aye.”